Wednesday, January 31, 2018

State of the Union? War, Likely

If Trump remains in office for a full term, I think it is very likely that he will manufacture a war or crisis in order to bump up his approval ratings and pressure Congress to stop investigate his ties to Russia.

Via PBS:
"Trump spoke about creating a more united country during a lunch with a number of television news anchors. Trump said the United States has long been divided, including during the impeachment of former president Bill Clinton. Trump also said that Americans usually come together during times of suffering.

'I would love to be able to bring back our country into a great form of unity,' Trump said. 'Without a major event where people pull together, that’s hard to do. But I would like to do it without that major event because usually that major event is not a good thing.'"
Trump pays lip service to not wanting a "major event" to occur, but he is also a well-documented liar and thus not reliable narrator of his own beliefs or reality.

As I've noted before, Trump regularly tweets references to nuclear war with North Korea not just because he seems obsessed with holding the power to obliterate billions of human beings, but because he's also an abuser who enjoys keeping the people of the US and in other countries living in terror.

His more recent language about "major events" that might unify the nation is a similar sort of signal.

As I noted over at Shakesville, in August 2017:
"At least some of the lingering unrest about the electoral process [due to the US Supreme Court handing George W. Bush the presidency], from what I remember, seemed to be quelled after 9/11, when the American public rallied behind George W. Bush. Before the attacks, Bush's approval rating hovered in the mid-50s. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, his approval ballooned to the high point of his two terms at 90%.

That is, 9/11 seems to have bolstered the legitimacy of George W. Bush's presidency, at least inasmuch as legitimacy is derived from the approval of the populace. Although, by the end of his second term he had become one of the most unpopular presidents in US history, in part because he squandered his legitimacy by leading the nation to war on the basis of lies.

A lesson from George W. Bush's presidency, then, is that a security crisis can confer legitimacy to a President who begins his term lacking it. And, the people will hunker down and rally behind an undeserving leader during a scary time, out of a sense of fear, loyalty, and nationalism. History shows that bad leaders will squander this trust, rather than accepting it with responsibility and grace.

For these reasons, my first point today is that we ought to be gravely concerned that the man who holds this office today is historically unpopular, obsessed with his popularity, and is widely seen as illegitimate.
It's coming.

As for Donald's State of the Union speech last night, I didn't watch the artifice. But, I'm sure I speak for everyone when I express my hope that the well-off white guys are still having lots of fun with all this.

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